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Les petits chiens guérisseurs : le soin par contact ?

Abstract : In the Historia naturalis, Pliny the Elder describes the transfer of illness from man to a puppy. The animal dies and has to be buried, an action depending explicitly on some ritual consideration. Looking for a ritual knowledge behind the practice, some striking similarities may be found in what we know of the periskulakismos, a Greek purification ritual (katharmos) in which a puppy is laid upon the human body. In this respect, the puppy becomes indeed a katharsion, the ritual burial of which we know about. The ritual function of the dog has long been related to its supposed impurity, but a cross-reading of ritual and medical knowledge, along with some mirabilia, helps to understand that the dog is a pharmakon, and as such an ambiguous remedy. Hence it is necessary to pay attention more closely to the means of enunciation, which contribute to a flow of knowledge between ritual power and natural power.
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Submitted on : Friday, April 26, 2019 - 12:32:45 PM
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Thomas Galoppin. Les petits chiens guérisseurs : le soin par contact ?. Mètis - Anthropologie des mondes grecs anciens, Daedalus/EHESS, 2017, N.S.15, pp.157-179. ⟨10.4000/books.editionsehess.4681⟩. ⟨halshs-02111958⟩



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